Built to Last

Tonight we start Sukkot. While many of us have been diligently putting up our Sukkot, others are more procrastinators and have to do it right now. In that sense the Sukkah itself is reminiscent of the Matzah from Passover. While it is called the “Bread of Affliction”, it is really the bread of procrastination. You would think with all of those plagues the Israelite slaves would have had enough warning to bake a nice French bread for the trip. But still Matzah is ideal for travel in that it really lasts. This is interesting in as much as the Sukkah itself is built as temporary structure. Your matzah itself might last longer then your Sukkah.

From 2004-2008 I had the pleasure of being the Hillel Rabbi at Washington University in St. Louis. Every year I  put up Sukkot at Hillel and on the South 40, dorms for underclassmen. In that time I also had the pleasure of helping a number of students put up Sukkot off campus. While I miss campus life, I do not miss the stress of ensuring that the Succot stay up. As you can see below, the South 40 is a wind tunnel.

It is curious to note that in the Berkat HaMazon, grace after meals, we will be adding special passage for Sukkot. It reads:

Harachaman hu yakim lanu et Sukkat David hanofalet. -May the Merciful One restore the Sukkah of David which is falling for us.

On this holiday we are not just in our own personal Sukkah, we symbolically restore a national center in the house of David. But on a very practical level I want to warn you as you are putting your final touches on your Sukkah, tether your Sukkah to the ground. Because, as the video shows, without a tent peg to hold it down your Sukkah is really just a really big box kite.

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